JCE 93.05 May 2016 Issue Highlights

Journal of Chemical Education May 2016 Cover

Thinking Like a Chemist

The May 2016 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education is now available online to subscribers. Topics featured in this issue include: assessment & learning theories, science literacy & chemical information, engaging young chemists in chemistry, analysis of real-world samples, organic chemistry in the classroom and lab, computational chemistry in the laboratory, thermodynamics, kinetics projects, understanding hydrophobic & hydrophilic materials.

Assessment & Learning Theories


Expertise in chemistry requires not only content knowledge, but also an ability to recognize and organize information based on underlying principles in the field. In Thinking Like a Chemist: Development of a Chemistry Card-Sorting Task To Probe Conceptual Expertise Felicia E. Krieter, Ryan W. Julius, Kimberly D. Tanner, Seth D. Bush, and Gregory E. Scott describe an instrument wherein participants sort a set of cards containing chemistry problems, which allows an exploration of how individuals with different levels of training organize chemical information. The dendrogram depicted on the cover shows that chemistry faculty tended to organize concepts around predictable, underlying principles, while novices tended to organize around superficial features.

Assessing how students learn is also examined in: 

Establishing the Validity of Using Network Analysis Software for Measuring Students’ Mental Storage of Chemistry Concepts ~ Kelly Y. Neiles, Ivy Todd, and Diane M. Bunce

Investigating General Chemistry Students’ Metacognitive Monitoring of Their Exam Performance by Measuring Postdiction Accuracies over Time ~ Morgan J. Hawker, Lisa Dysleski, and Dawn Rickey


In the Editorial It Is Time To Say What We Mean, Melanie M. Cooper argues that it is now time to be more specific about what is meant when effective pedagogical approaches and the desired outcomes are discussed. One approach she discusses is to adopt the scientific practices from the Framework for Science Education.


Why Teach Molality in General Chemistry? ~ Faisal A. Omar, Benjamin L. Dreher, and Nathan S. Winter

Science Literacy & Chemical Information

Transforming Undergraduate Students into Junior Researchers: Oxidation–Reduction Sequence as a Problem-Based Case Study ~ Tiina Saloranta, Jan-Erik Lönnqvist, and Patrik C. Eklund

Developing Students’ Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Analysis Skills in an Inquiry-Based Synthetic Organic Laboratory Course ~ Marisa G. Weaver, Andrey V. Samoshin, Robert B. Lewis, and Morgan J. Gainer

Review and Comparison of the Search Effectiveness and User Interface of Three Major Online Chemical Databases ~ Neelam Bharti, Michelle Leonard, and Shailendra Singh

Integrating the Liberal Arts and Chemistry: A Series of General Chemistry Assignments To Develop Science Literacy ~ Diane M. Miller and Demetra A. Chengelis Czegan

Literature-Based Problems for Introductory Organic Chemistry Quizzes and Exams ~ Kevin M. Shea, David J. Gorin, and Maren E. Buck

Using Student-Made Posters To Annotate a Laser Teaching Laboratory ~ Cindy Samet

Engaging Young Chemists in Chemistry

Evaluating a College-Prep Laboratory Exercise for Teenaged Homeschool Students in a University Setting ~ Daniel A. Hercules, Cameron A. Parrish, and Daniel C. Whitehead

Tournament of Young Chemists in Ukraine: Engaging Students in Chemistry through a Role-Playing Game-Style Competition ~ Denis Svechkarev and Oleksiy V. Grygorovych

Obtaining and Investigating Amphoteric Properties of Aluminum Oxide in a Hands-On Laboratory Experiment for High School Students ~ Kinga Orwat, Paweł Bernard, and Anna Migdał-Mikuli

Analysis of Real-World Samples

Demonstrating the Presence of Cyanide in Bitter Seeds while Helping Students Visualize Metal–Cyanide Reduction and Formation in a Copper Complex Reaction ~ Giorgio Volpi

Using Differential Scanning Calorimetry To Explore the Phase Behavior of Chocolate ~ Michael J. Smith

Determination of Sulfate by Conductometric Titration: An Undergraduate Laboratory Experiment ~ Jennifer Garcia and Linda D. Schultz

Organic Chemistry in the Classroom and Lab

A Mailman Analogy: Retaining Student Learning Gains in Alkane Nomenclature ~ Jessica Orvis, Diana Sturges, Shannon Rhodes, Ki-Jana White, Trent W. Maurer, and Shainaz M. Landge

Beyond Clickers, Next Generation Classroom Response Systems for Organic Chemistry ~ Kevin M. Shea


Synthesis of a Parkinson’s Disease Treatment Drug, the R,R-Tartrate Salt of R-Rasagiline: A Three Week Introductory Organic Chemistry Lab Sequence ~ Noberto Aguilar, Billy Garcia, Mark Cunningham, and Samuel David

Azeotropic Preparation of a C-Phenyl N-Aryl Imine: An Introductory Undergraduate Organic Chemistry Laboratory Experiment ~ Lee J. Silverberg and David J. Coyle , Kevin C. Cannon , Robert T. Mathers and Jeffrey A. Richards , John Tierney

Reaction of Orthoesters with Amine Hydrochlorides: An Introductory Organic Lab Experiment Combining Synthesis, Spectral Analysis, and Mechanistic Discovery ~ Shahrokh Saba and James A. Ciaccio

A Hydrazine-Free Wolff–Kishner Reaction Suitable for an Undergraduate Laboratory ~ Philippa B. Cranwell and Andrew T. Russell

Combinatorial Solid-Phase Synthesis of Aromatic Oligoamides: A Research-Based Laboratory Module for Undergraduate Organic Chemistry ~ Amelia A. Fuller

Computational Chemistry in the Laboratory

Integration of Computational Chemistry into the Undergraduate Organic Chemistry Laboratory Curriculum ~ Brian J. Esselman and Nicholas J. Hill

A Simple Molecular Dynamics Lab To Calculate Viscosity as a Function of Temperature ~ Logan H. Eckler and Matthew J. Nee


A Student-Constructed Galvanic Cell for the Measurement of Cell Potentials at Different Temperatures ~ Anna Jakubowska

Measuring Vapor Pressure with an Isoteniscope: A Hands-On Introduction to Thermodynamic Concepts ~ Wenqian Chen, Andrew J. Haslam, Andrew Macey, Umang V. Shah, and Clemens Brechtelsbauer

Correct Use of Helmholtz and Gibbs Function Differences, ΔA and ΔG: The van’t Hoff Reaction Box ~ Leslie Glasser

Comment on “An Alternative Presentation of the Second Law of Thermodynamics” ~ Howard DeVoe

Reply to “Comment on ‘An Alternative Presentation of the Second Law of Thermodynamics’” ~ Sangyoub Lee, Kyusup Lee, and Jiyon Lee

Kinetics Projects

Synthesis and Decomposition Kinetic Studies of Bis(lutidine)silver(I) Nitrate Complexes as an Interdisciplinary Undergraduate Chemistry Experiment ~ Vishakha Monga, Guillaume Bussière, Paul Crichton, and Sailesh Daswani

The Alcohol Dehydrogenase Kinetics Laboratory: Enhanced Data Analysis and Student-Designed Mini-Projects ~ Todd P. Silverstein

Distilling the Archives: Understanding Hydrophobic & Hydrophilic Materials

This issue includes a way to demonstrate Electrophoretic Separation in a Straight Paper Channel Delimited by a Hydrophobic Wax Barrier by Chunxiu Xu, Wanqi Lin, and Longfei Cai. Past issues of the journal include a number of articles on understanding hydrophobic and hydrophilic materials, including:

Hydroglyphics: Demonstration of Selective Wetting on Hydrophilic and Hydrophobic Surfaces ~ Philseok Kim, Jack Alvarenga, Joanna Aizenberg, and Raymond S. Sleeper (Tom Kuntzleman wrote an enthusiastic blog about this paper.)

Colorful Lather Printing ~ Susan A. S. Hershberger, Matt Nance, Arlyne M. Sarquis and Lynn M. Hogue

Bubble, Bubble, Toil and Trouble ~ JCE staff

On the Surface: Mini-Activities Exploring Surface Phenomena ~ JCE staff

Magic Sand ~ JCE Staff

Magic Sand: Modeling the Hydrophobic Effect and Reversed-Phase Liquid Chromatography ~ Ed Vitz

A Simple Flotation De-Inking Experiment for the Recycling of Paper ~ Richard A. Venditti

New Nanotech from an Ancient Material: Chemistry Demonstrations Involving Carbon-Based Soot ~ Dean J. Campbell, Mark J. Andrews, and Keith J. Stevenson

Preparation of Transparent Superhydrophobic Glass Slides: Demonstration of Surface Chemistry Characteristics ~ Jessica X. H. Wong and Hua-Zhong Yu

Going inside Colored Solutions: The Optical Microscope as a Tool for Studying the Chemistry of Hydrophilic and Hydrophobic Materials ~ Riam Abu-Much, Sobhi Basheer, Ahmad Basheer, and Muhamad Hugerat

The Molecular Boat: A Hands-On Experiment To Demonstrate the Forces Applied to Self-Assembled Monolayers at Interfaces ~ Charlene J. Chan and Khalid Salaita

JCE Always Contains Content That Will Make You Think

With 93 volumes of the Journal of Chemical Education to explore, you will always find something informative—including the articles mentioned above, and many more, in the Journal of Chemical Education. Articles that are edited and published online ahead of print (ASAP—As Soon As Publishable) are also available.

Summer is a great time to submit a contribution to the Journal of Chemical Education. For some advice on becoming a Journal author, read Erica Jacobsen’s Commentary. In addition, numerous author resources are available on JCE’s ACS Web site, including: Author Guidelines, Document Templates, and Reference Guidelines. The Journal has recently issued a call for papers on Polymer Concepts across the Curriculum, so consider submitting a contribution to our next special issue.